Program Head (Senior Research Scientist), Halving Global Violence Initiative

New York University’s Center on International Cooperation (CIC) over two decades has built a reputation for its work on the links between politics, security, and sustainable development. We are a champion for the role that global institutions can play in fostering peaceful, just, and inclusive societies.

The Pathfinders for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies is a group of UN member states, international organizations, global partnerships, civil society, and the private sector. We work to accelerate the delivery of the SDG targets for peace, justice and inclusion (SDG16+). Pathfinders was co-founded by and is hosted by CIC.

The Pathfinders brings together 31 member states and close to 100 other partners. We launched the Roadmap for Peaceful, Just and Inclusive Societies in 2017 and played a central role in the mobilization for the High-level Political Forum (which reviewed SDG16 for the first time) and the first SDG Summit in 2019.

We actively support national implementation of the SDG16+ targets and work with global and regional partners to strengthen strategies and operational support for peaceful, just and inclusive societies. We support three Grand Challenges, including the ministerial Task Force on Justice, a coalition of countries and other partners working to tackle inequality and exclusion, and a new challenge on SDG16.1 (significantly reduce all forms of violence everywhere).

CIC is seeking a Program Head for its SDG16.1 challenge, as we design a movement to halve global violence for launch at the UN’s 75th anniversary summit in 2020, which coincides with the International Day of Peace.

Reporting to the Pathfinders director, the Program Head will:

  • Provide research and thought leadership, strategic direction, and oversight for this new initiative.
  • Develop the evidence to inform a vision and strategies for halving violence, synthesizing research developed in five domains of prevention – conflict, urban and criminal violence, interpersonal violence (in particular, violence against women and girls), human rights abuses and mass atrocities, and violent extremism – and building links to the Secretary-General’s global conversation on “bridging the gap” for the UN’s 75th anniversary
  • Initiate and contribute to research developing a case for investment in halving violence and strengthening financing strategies for prevention. Explore innovative financing modalities and other mechanisms for incentivizing the accelerated prevention of violence. Identify metrics that can be used to measure the success of a movement to halve violence.
  • Based on this research, develop and implement a plan to engage member states, city leaders, and global and regional partners in an action coalition for halving violence and engage champions from the international system and other globally recognized leaders for peace.
  • Launch the movement to halve violence at the SDG Action Platform as part of the UN’s 75th anniversary summit in September 2020 and at the Peace One Concert on the International Day of Peace.
  • Develop and implement a plan to take forward this movement as part of the UN’s Decade of Action for the SDGs.
  • Manage a team of staff and consultants, secure the continued financial sustainability of the program, and report on impact and value for money to donors.
  • Work with the Pathfinders director and other program leads to ensure the effective management of the Pathfinders program.

The position requires a track record as a research and thought leader in violence prevention, with experience that covers more than one form of violence. The candidate should have demonstrated skill in leading research and policy partnerships, including in the Global South, and the ability to manage a dynamic and fast-moving program. Excellent written and oral communication skills are essential, as well as experience with effective communications strategies. Fluency working proficiency in more than one of the UN’s official languages is highly desirable.


Required Education:

Master's Degree or PhD in a relevant field, combined with relevant practical experience.

Required Experience:

10+ years’ experience working on research and action to promote peace, justice, or inclusion. Experience working with many types of research partners and stakeholders (governments, multilateral organizations, and civil society) in different regions, including the Global South.

Preferred Experience:

Playing a leadership role within a multi-stakeholder policy research partnership or process, including in the Global South. Track record of publishing influential policy research. Fundraising for a think tank, research center, or non-profit organization. Management of a research and advocacy team (including goal setting, resource allocation, and professional development).

Required Skills, Knowledge and Abilities:

Deep expertise on violence prevention. Ability to maintain an overview of a broad policy agenda. Strategic skills to direct and develop a program. Networking skills to manage a positive relationship with member states, international organizations, civil society, and donors. Experience in fundraising and grant management, and in managing complex budgets. Proven ability to manage and develop a team. Excellent verbal and written communication skills. Experience with quantitative and qualitative data analysis. Fluency in English and one additional language, with a preference for another UN language.

Applicant Instructions:
Please submit:

  • A cover letter (1-2 pages) in which they lay out their background and relevant experience
  • A full CV
  • A writing sample

Please note only those applicants selected for an interview will be contacted.

All applications must be submitted through NYU's online Interfolio portal. For further information and to submit an application, please follow this link.